(HealthDay News) — Exposure to high ultraviolet radiation (UVR) seems to confer a lower risk of pancreatic cancer, and measures of skin type correlate significantly with the risk of pancreatic cancer, according to a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s Pancreatic Cancer: Progress and Challenges conference, held from June 18 to 21 in Lake Tahoe, Nev.

Rachel Neale, Ph.D., from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues conducted a population-based case-control study between 2007 and 2011. Seven hundred four cases and 709 age- and gender-matched controls were interviewed about sociodemographics, medical history, lifestyle information, information about location of birth, skin cancer history, and skin type.

The researchers found that, after adjustment, individuals born in areas with high UVR had a lower risk of pancreatic cancer compared with those born in a low-UVR environment (odds ratio for highest versus lowest tertile of UVR, 0.76; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.56 to 1.01). All measures of skin type correlated significantly with pancreatic cancer risk, with approximately half the risk for those with the most versus the least sun-sensitive skin. A lower risk of pancreatic cancer was seen for individuals who had been diagnosed with skin cancer or sun-related skin lesions, compared with those who had not had skin lesions treated (odds ratio, 0.60).

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“It is important that we understand the risks and benefits of sun exposure because it has implications for public health messages about sun exposure, and possibly about policy related to vitamin D supplementation or food fortification,” Neale said in a statement.

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